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1923 Monroe Doctrine Half Dollar

1923 Monroe Doctrine Half Dollar

Mintage 274,077

It was logical enough to Issue a special coin in 1923 to honor the Monroe Doctrine on its centennial. This, after all, was a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy: that the U.S. government would oppose further colonization in the Americas and resist foreign interference with the New World's independent nations. But while the coin itself may have made sense, there were very curious aspects about the way it came into being. Instead of being sponsored by a patriotic group, the Monroe Doctrine half dollar was something of a Hollywood production: It was issued in conjunction with the "First Annual American Historical Revue and Motion Picture Industry Exposition." in short, it was promoted by the motion picture industry a rather strange marriage, to say the least. The obverse of the coin bears conjoined profile portraits of President James Monroe and his Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, who joined him in formulating the doctrine. The coin's reverse depicts two human figures representing North and South America. North America holds a sprig of olive to symbolize peace, while South America holds a horn of plenty. The coin was designed by Chester Beach. Congress authorized 300,000 examples of this coin, and the Mint actually made more than 274,000-all at its San Francisco branch. Most found their way into circulation. This, combined with the coin's extremely low relief, makes it very difficult to find gem specimens. Those that do exist bring hefty premiums.

Value $25 - $3,000